Miami Living Magazine

Aaron Diaz

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highlights Billie Jean's love affair with Marilyn Barnett, she found herself often speaking about LGBQT rights, but felt that she was omitting something, for the sake of her privacy, that may help people. After thoughtful contemplation, she decided to publicly share a pivotal experience from her childhood during Pride Month (June) this year via an open letter published to her Parks and Recreation costar's website, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. "Her site is geared toward young girls and that's where I wanted to aim that at and they were really awesome about it." In the candid and inspiring letter, Natalie shares, "I don't like labeling myself, or anyone else, but if it's easier for you to understand me, what I'm saying is that I'm queer. What queer means to me is just simply that I'm not straight. That's all. It's not scary, even though that word used to be really, really scary to me." Open about the feelings she experienced in her childhood, Natalie wrote the letter so that others that felt this way too didn't feel so alone. The feedback she received was "mostly good." "Some people were like, 'Oh, so you're gay?' and I was like, 'No, you didn't read it…. that's fine if you think so, but that's not the case.' The whole purpose of it wasn't to make some sort of announcement, I don't give a shit about that. It was about sharing that story with people." The very first line of the letter reads: "I'm a very private person." I tell Natalie that as someone about to interview her, I was worried how our conversation would go. "You can ask me anything. I'll tell you what, the hard thing is I'm a very open person with people, I just don't like to say stuff online. I don't want people to know where I live, what my family's name is…I've had a stalker…and it's really scary. I just think that boundaries are important with my own safety and what I think is mine and not the rest of the world's," she explains. Next up for Natalie is Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet (starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant), which is returning for Season 2 (air date to be announced). "That's really fun for me to do because it's a really different character for me to play. I'm playing a total weirdo, which I love. It's really fun to go work on a show that's already kinda crazy, with people that you know and have fun with." (Natalie previously worked with Drew on the film, Going the Distance, and with Timothy Olyphant and Mary Elizabeth Ellis on The Grinder.) She's also directing more and wrote a TV show with her best friend and is in the midst of developing it. "It's all under wraps, but it should be good. I plan on being in it as well," says Natalie with a smile. "We're still making all the deals right now, it's all still in the works. Like, wheelin' and dealin,' tryin' to make it happen." ML Keep up with Natalie on Instagram: @nataliemoraleslovesfreestuff and Twitter @NatalieMorales. WE WANT MORE What was the biggest thing you took away from Bat tle of the Sexes? "I was born after women's lib. The stories that I had read about or seen about women marching in the street and fighting for their rights were important in my head as part of history but they didn't feel like a fight I needed to fight. And now they do. Women still don't have equal pay, it's better than what it was. And there's a lot of things, besides that, that are worth fighting for. What I learned from it is, it's not necessarily the idea that history repeats itself, because that's sort of true, but I think history repeats itself because we go through this epic thing and then we forget that it happened, we forget all the reasons, how we fought to get passed it, and so we end up there again." What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't an actress? "I'd maybe go into advertising. I find the study of people and what people react to and why people like certain things and don't like certain things to be very fascinating. I'd be Don Drapering it up... I just like the idea of figuring out how to best present something to somebody or how to get what you want out of a certain scenario. It's not dissimilar to making movies." What are you doing in your free time? "I'm probably making something else, like a video or creating something. I design fonts. A lot of the movies that I've done, I've made the title, like the font for it. I really like to cook as well. I like what's-in-the-cabinet dishes — the puzzle of, I have all these things left, what can I make? I'm a vegetarian, so I'm always trying to find ways to make Cuban food vegetarian, which is not easy," says Natalie, who learned to cook from her grandmother. Where do you go when you return to Miami? "Versailles –they have the best Cuban food in Miami. That's pretty much the only place I make my family go." Natalie grew up in Kendall, Florida and visits her family there a few times a year. "I pretty much like to stay at home and hang out with my family most of the time now. My family has a house there, but sometimes when I want to take my mom on a little getaway, we go stay at The Standard, it's on the causeway. It's a spa hotel with really great views. It's like a little getaway."

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